Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What Goes Around Comes Around

So many of us with diabetes have unhappy, angry, or frustrating encounters with people who are wholly uneducated and have misconceptions about it.  I do try to use those times for education but they can create a cold place in my heart.  We often blog, Tweet, or Facebook about those encounters so others that understand can commensurate and give feedback.

I wanted to tell a story about a nice experience that I had recently since those can be few and far between.

Rob and I were shopping at Target (can someone anyone explain to me why I arrive with a list of five items to buy and end up with an entire cart full of goodies that cost me $200?).

My CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) signaled I was low (I have my alert set at 70).  Rob asked me if I wanted to schlep over to Starbucks and grab something to eat or drink.  I figured we wouldn't be there long (really?) and I had a steady arrow (versus one pointing down which indicates a fast moving blood sugar) so I felt like I'd be OK.

A few minutes later I got the 55 alert (which Dexcom programs because the situation has now become dangerous).  Rob asked again about Starbucks but I figured he was there to help me and we'd be done soon.  He wasn't happy about that answer but I'm know to throw a fit so he went along with it begrudgingly.  I was still on my feet and acting pretty "normal."

As we got to the checkout counter, I actually started to feel low (shaking and sweating like crazy) and the CGM showed a blood sugar of 42 so I grabbed some Sour Patch Kids from the display.  The woman that was checking us out asked, "Do you want that in the bag or in your purse?"  I told her I'd take them because my blood sugar was low and I needed to eat them ASAP (I've never been one to hide my diabetes but I'm sure the hypo caused me to overshare at that moment).

Her response was awesome!  She said, "I've got scissors here to help you open the package, please start eating them now."  I told her I'd be OK and would scarf them in the car (I didn't want to hold up the line).  She said, "Please eat them now, the other customers will be fine."  I was surprised by her response and must have looked at her a bit quizzically because she told me a quick story.

"My Dad had Type 1 Diabetes.  I know how this all works.  He helped me move a few years ago and went shopping without me while I unpacked.  His blood sugar dropped and he passed out in the store.  A clerk, who also had a diabetic father, dropped what she was doing and helped him the best she could (including trying to wake him enough to drink juice) while 911 was called.  I'll never forget the fear and helplessness of that day but I'll also remember the woman who helped my Dad.  Please be safe and eat your candy."

I felt overwhelmed by her story and by her concern about someone she didn't know except for the fleeting moments I had been in her line.

We had a true 'what goes around moment.'  Her Dad was helped by someone whose Dad also had diabetes.  She, in turn, wanted to help me.  It was a sort of threesome that only someone with diabetes could hope for.


  1. I am glad you made it through. I am always amazed by how wonderful things happen when they need to occur.

  2. Oh how I love this!!! (And why does Target always make us crash???)

  3. I was about to chime in like Karen....on top of never being able to get out of there without spending $100+, my sugar literally crashes almost upon entry to the store. WTH?!

  4. I was about to chime in like Karen....on top of never being able to get out of there without spending $100+, my sugar literally crashes almost upon entry to the store. WTH?!

  5. Wow - three cheers for such a great employee!

  6. Wow, good ending to your story! I'm very glad you were in her line. My daughter once helped a woman who was experiencing a low while checking in to the vet clinic that Jenny worked at. Jen knew exactly what to do because she had helped me so often.

  7. I always go low when shopping for some reason (is it the joy of being out of the house?). Glad someone helped you that knows what T1D is all about - that's quite rare - especially where I am here in Canada!

  8. Wow I'm a librarian. Most people hear my alarm while I'm talking to them and I explain the alarm and that I need to get some sugar. Then the below 55 alarm goes off and they are still talking to me. Then I tell them I'm going to die in a minute and they still talk through it. I run away to find my stash of sugar and they are still talking but now to no one. Ah the joys of apathy. Love your great experience. Gives me hope.